Dell XPS 15 vs Precision 5520

Dell has two top-of-the-line laptops that are currently competing for king-of-the-hill status — quite the odd choice from a marketing perspective, no doubt — but how do the two compare? We take a look at both the XPS 15 (9560) and the Precision 5520 and see how they stack up against one-another.

The 2017 XPS 15 9560 and the 2017 Precision 5520 are both “flagship” laptops out of Dell’s prosumer and business divisions respectively, and while they share a chassis and similar specs, they aren’t exactly two faces of the same coin. While on the entry level both can be similarly configured, the XPS 15 comes in one of seven different configurations (or eight if outside the USA), while the Precision 5520 can be hand-customized in any of a dozen+ configurations depending on your (small business) needs. The real difference between the two comes into stark visibility when comparing the top-end options between the two lines, however.

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rewrite: a rust-powered, in-place file rewrite utility

Let’s say you’ve got a terminal open and you want to sort the contents of a file before you email it to a friend. The file can contain anything and it could be of any length, it doesn’t matter. What do you do?

The obvious answer is to use sort. Sorting the file is as easy as sort myfile – except it doesn’t actually sort the file, it sorts the *contents* of the file and dumps them to the command line (via stdout). So how do you sort the file “in-place,” so-to-speak? Again, the obvious answer would be sort myfile > myfile,1 redirecting the output of the sort command back to the file you want to ultimately send sorted.

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  1. Don’t do this! 

Full range of Lenovo T570 options revealed

Lenovo’s ThinkPad T570, the much-awaited, supposed MacBook killer that was first announced at CES in January, is now available for pre-order via Lenovo Hong Kong – meaning users can finally see what specs are available and (roughly) how much it’s going to cost them.

Let’s get this out of the way: disappointingly, once again, Lenovo doesn’t seem to have made available configuration options that feature Intel’s fastest mobile chips; the most powerful option available is the Kaby Lake-powered i7-7600U. This is almost certainly a conscious and thought-out decision, as 7600U is the highest you can go without a massive jump in TDP – the higher-spec’d 7700HQ and above all weigh in at 45W TDP, compared to the 7600U’s thrifty 25W TDP. Dell’s Precision (and possibly XPS15?) and HP’s ZBook lineups will likely be the only way to get more raw processing power for your next purchase – at the cost of greatly-reduced battery life, no doubt.

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Beware of this new Chrome “font wasn’t found” hack!

Today while browsing a (compromised) WordPress site that shall remain unnamed, I came across a very interesting “hack” that was pulled off with a bit more finesse than most of the drive-by-infection attempts. This one relies on using JavaScript to change the text rendering, causing it to resemble mis-encoded text with symbols and rubbish in place of the content, then prompts the user to update “Chrome’s language pack” to fix the problem.

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SecureStore: a .NET secrets manager

SecureStore is our open-source (MIT-licensed) solution to secrets management for .NET developers. It’s intended to be dead simple and boldly embraces the KISS principle. We’ve been using it in production for a while now (years, actually!), but hadn’t gotten around to officially releasing it despite its public availability on our GitHub page.

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Introducing betterpad™ for Windows

logoEveryone, say hello to betterpad – an open, fast, & free replacement for notepad that doesn’t suck. Inspired by text edit on Mac, this recent convert back to the Windows ecosystem needed something for random notes, quickly opening plain text files, or jotting things down – and expecting them to still be there the next time you come back to your PC.

As a text editor, it tries to remain unopinionated and keep out of your way.. while supporting whatever you throw at it. It doesn’t choke and die when it encounters a unix line ending and it’s smart enough to reopen all your old documents – saved or otherwise – after a restart or if it (hopefully not!) crashes. It’s high-dpi aware, has full unicode support, and actually has multiple levels of undo so you don’t have to think twice before hitting ctrl-z and you don’t have to smash your head against the wall when you realize a few seconds later that you didn’t copy the old contents of the buffer.

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QuickSubmit for Chrome, Redux

Quick, if you had to pick one thing Internet Explorer has that Chrome doesn’t, what would it be?1 For us, it has been a dearth of common navigation shortcuts that can make life filling forms online much less painful. IE users have long been spoiled by the alt+shift+s keyboard combination to submit the currently active form – a luxury Chrome users have long had to live without.

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  1. I’m truly, genuinely sorry if you voted “better battery life” and I wish I had better news for you, but alas… 

145 years and 210,719 games of home vs away: does it make a difference?

bbstats

Much has been made of “home field advantage” in baseball – in particular, does playing at home vs away significantly affect a team’s outcome? Just how much impact does it have on a series’ outcome? What is home field advantage made of, anyway? Our favorite statisticians over at FiveThirtyEight once compiled a post about the disappearing effects of home field advantage for soccer in England, but what about the national pastime here in the USA? Buoyed by the Cubs’ recent success and egged-on by the MLB’s questionable interesting policy of awarding home-field advantage to the winner of the All-Star Game, we decided to see just what effect playing at home vs away has.

We went back 145 years and crunched the numbers from 210,719 baseball games to find out just what impact playing at home vs away has had over the past century-and-a-half of baseball… and then took it a step further with a look at some numbers on home field advantage by both team and park.

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Apple’s newest, best MacBook Pro still has only 16GB of RAM

macbook-pro-magic-toolbarApple is famous for making awesome hardware. Or at least, they were. Today, it seems that Apple is officially trying to become famous for making hardware you can’t change, in configurations you don’t want, with year(s)-old tech you don’t need. Case in point: the newest, latest, and “greatest” MacBook Pro, available now for pre-order online.

Unlike previous generations where users had some semblance of control over what parts their customized Macs shipped with, the new MBPs don’t really give the users much choice. The top-of-the-line 15″ MBP has only two CPU options available, the 2.7GHz Intel i7 6820HQ and the 2.9GHz i7 6920HQ. Despite being CPUs that were released almost a year-and-a-half ago, they are still much-needed upgrades from the previous, decrepit processors that were powering the MacBook Pros available for sale yesterday.

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PSA: PayPal.com rejecting connections from Internet Explorer 10 and below!

PayPalThis is just a small public service announcement for any web developers or eCommerce website owners using PayPal Express Checkout to accept payments on their websites: don’t redirect your users to paypal.com, make sure you use www.paypal.com instead!

The reason is quite simple (and stupid): PayPal uses different SSL security configurations for the vanilla paypal.com domain and the www.paypal.com subdomain – and the former is incompatible with a lot of older PCs and operating systems, meaning your users will get an error message instead of being presented with the checkout options!

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